February 12, 2017: TRUTH
"We hold these truths to be self-evident...."
To paraphrase Ernest Hemingway, isn't it pretty to think so.
This morning on George Stephanopolus's show, I heard some government spokesman yelling about voter fraud, and how prevalent it is, and how millions of voters last November voted twice or more, with busloads of Massachusetts voters being driven to New Hampshire to cast votes, obviously for Hilary Clinton. When asked to provide evidence he replied, with the same loud determination, that he knew it was true, everybody knew it was true. George wasn't buying it. Neither did I. But you can bet many of the people who voted for Trump will. Because, you know, the media lies, the media is corrupt, facts are not facts, there are alternative facts. And those of us who are educated, who understand basic things like the necessity of evidence to prove a case, in law and in life, sigh in despair. Because there is no evidence for these claims at all. This never happened.
The actual truth in this case? What is actually happening and has been happening for years now is that people on the right have been taking over state legislatures and gerrymandering election districts to ensure that they are way more likely to win political control over both state and Federal legislatures, and in the process attack voting rights to make it as difficult as possible for minorities to vote. It's a clever strategy, well-organized in its execution, and it has worked. With the connivance of the Supreme Court decision that it was no longer necessary for the Federal Gov't to oversee voting procedures in the South, which has spent the 150 years since the Civil War making sure blacks never got to vote. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal ...."
And what is this about? White power. This country belongs to white people, and by God they're going to keep it that way. Voter fraud? This is the actual voter fraud. All the rest is demagoguery. Fake news. In short, lies.
The lies, the amateur foreign policy mistakes, the outright stupidity of the current administration come so fast and are so dangerous that I find myself reeling, reluctant to read the news it is so disheartening. I find it hard to work. Hard to pay attention. And "alternative facts"--as if there really were such things. Facts are facts. The truth is the truth. Yet the right denies it; worst of all, it denies the biggest and most frightening truth of our time, that the ice caps are melting, storms are becoming more frequent and more violent because of the amount of moisture in the air, glaciers are retreating all over the world, in Antarctica the Larsen Ice Shelf is breaking up, Greenland is melting far faster than anyone anticipated, and folks, we are in deep shit. Not just America. The whole world. Yet alone in the civilized world the American right denies that global warming is speeding up and is busy now deregulating the fossil fuel burners. Because global warming is only a "theory."
When in fact, in fact, in fact, it is supported by mountains of scientific evidence, 97% of the world's climate scientists accept it, and every year the world's average temperature breaks the record set the previous year. This is the true Armageddon. The true Apocalypse. Close to 50% of the world's population lives on seacoasts. Here in the Hamptons, everyone wants a water view--preferably as close to the water as possible.
It is truth itself that I mourn for. A President denies photographic evidence, as plain as day, that shows incontrovertibly that his inauguration crowd was way smaller than President Obama's. He says that when he began to speak it stopped raining, when in fact it started. Alas. We mourn. The search for truth is one of the sacred tasks of humankind. It is enshrined in the legal system, it is what scientists live for, it is the project of all our lives, to find the truth. Even if it is hard to face. It often is. What human beings are doing to our planet, the only one we have, is definitely a hard truth. But when the official leader of our country tells us that global warming is a Chinese plot, then we know. We are in deep shit. Our only option is to resist, to organize, to make every possible effort to take our country back from the brink of chaos and ignorance.